Saturday, May 2, 2015 — Dedication of the Harry Carey Sr. Monument at Tesoro Adobe Historic Park in the Tesoro Del Valle subdivision (the former Harry Carey Ranch).
The monument was dedicated by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich's office and the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation in conjunction with E Clampus Vitus (ECV, aka the Clampers), who designed and paid for the monument. It was fabricated by Angel Memorial Granite of Mission Hills.
Members of the Carey family who participated in the ceremony included three grandchildren of Harry and Olive Carey: Lily Carey and Melinda Carey (daughters of the late Harry Carey Jr.) and Doug Taylor (son of Ella Carey).
The idea for the monument came from Pete Fries, retired principal of La Mesa Junior High School (William S. Hart Union High School District) and a member of ECV Platrix Chapter No. 2.
Additional speakers at the ceremony included Rosalind Wayman, field deputy to Antonovich; Santa Clarita Councilwoman Laurene Weste; Tesoro Adobe Supervisor Jared Didier; and Dr. Gary Turner of ECV, who provided the Clamper history and personally donated three items to the county for display at the park: a studio portrait of Harry Carey Sr., a lobby card for "The Man from Red Gulch" (Hunt Stromberg Productions 1925) and a half-sheet movie poster for "Cavalier of the West" (Supreme Pictures 1931), both starring Harry Sr.
Lily Carey brought her grandfather's personal ledger book from the 1930s which included, among other things, a description of the effects of the Great Flood of March 2, 1938.
Afterward, Carey family members toured the adobe home that Harry Sr. built after his original (~1916) wooden homestead house burned down in 1932.
The monument reads:
Harry Carey Sr. was an early silent-screen actor who starred in more than 200 films. In 1916 he took over the homestead rights of a previous settler and established his ranch of almost 2,000 acres. Carey, the first of many film actors to settle in the Santa Clarita Valley, built the original wood-frame ranch house. He and his actress wife, Olive, raised two children — Harry Carey Jr. (Dobe) and Ella Carey Taylor (Cappy) —who were both born on the ranch in the 1920s.
Carey Sr. helped establish the Santa Clarita Valley as a center of Western-genre filmmaking. The ranch was used in many silent movies and Western serials. Oscar-winning director John Ford learned his trade on the Harry Carey Ranch. Many distinguished celebrities visited Tesoro Adobe, including William S. Hart, Charles Russell, Will Rogers, Tom Mix and John Wayne.
The first tourist attraction in Santa Clarita, the ranch housed horses, cattle, hogs, goats, sheep and every stray dog that Harry Carey found. More than 40 Navajo lived on the ranch, tending sheep, weaving baskets, making silver jewelry, and comprising the community of the Harry Carey Trading Post.
When the St. Francis Dam broke on March 12, 1928, floodwaters washed through the Careys' beloved ranch. Fortunately the family was away at the time, as were the Navajo, who had returned to their Southwest homes a month earlier under the advisement of a medicine man predicting that the dam would break. The Trading Post was totally destroyed and the caretakers, Mr. and Mrs. Harter, were killed. More than 450 other people also lost their lives as the wall of water decimated San Francisquito Canyon and wound its way to the Pacific Ocean via the Santa Clara River.
The Carey family sold the ranch in the mid-1940s. In 1952 the Clougherty family, owners of the meat-packing company Farmer John, purchased the property to raise livestock. "FJ," Farmer Johns' trademark cattle brand, can still be seen throughout the property. The Cloughertys held on to the ranch until 2005, when it was donated as Tesoro Adobe Historic Park to Los Angeles County from Montalvo Properties, LLC, the developer of the Tesoro residential community. Because of the Cloughertys' efforts, this historic ranch has been preserved as a reminder of Santa Clarita's western heritage.
This marker was placed on this site January 16, 2015, through the efforts of
Tesoro Home Owners Association
Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation
Platrix Chapter No. 2 of E Clampus Vitus, Inc.